Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mediterranean Fare, by popular request for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy

The following dishes were presented for the Foodie Series of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy on the theme of Mediterranean.  Karin Lind from the Conservancy, presented on prominent plant products of the region, extensively on olive oil, and Scot Strizic, of the MLCC, presented perfect beverage pairings.  Enjoy!




1. Turkish Imam Bayaldi

There are two stories behind the name, "Imam Bayaldi" which means, "The Imam fainted dead away". One is that the olive oil used to prepare this dish was so expensive that he fainted from the extravagent use. The other story is that the food was so good that he died completely satisfied and joyful with the tastes of such a dish. I'm hoping that you'll have a similar experience to the latter story.

4 Japanese eggplant (peel off 3 slices of outer skin length-wise around the eggplant)
olive oil (for frying and flavour)
Rich tomato sauce (recipe follows)
cilantro (optional)

Rich Tomato Sauce

1 tin crushed tomatoes (organic fire roasted is nicest)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp brown sugar (to reduce acid of tomatoes)

Preheat oven to 350�F. On the stove top, preheat olive oil in saut� pan. Carefully brown egplants on all sides. This takes some time. One option is to prepare the eggplant on a BBQ by drizzling olive oil over the eggplants prior to grilling. Remove eggplants from pan and place in a baking dish. Let eggplants rest. Split open the eggplants and spoon in the rich tomato sauce into each eggplant. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and drizzle with good olive oil. Bake for up to 30 minutes. Imam Baldi can be enjoyed hot, cold or room temperature. Serve with bread.

Enjoy!

2. Spanish Tapa Potato wedges with roasted garlic dip

3 lb potatoes
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt

Roasted Garlic Dip
2 garlic bulbs, roasted
1 tbs olive oil
5 tbs sour cream
4 tbs mayonnaise
hot smoked paprika, to taste
salt

Roast the garlic for 25 minutes at 350�F until caramelized. Let cool enough to handle. Squeeze out and mash. Mix in a bowl with the sour cream and mayonnaise. Season with salt and paprika. Chill.

For the potatoes, cut each potato half into 3 wedges and place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic and salt and toss well. Transfer to a roasting pan and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 1- 1/14 hours, or until crisp and golden.

Serve immediately with roasted garlic dip.

Enjoy!

3. Moroccan Beef Tajine

1 lb beef roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tbs ras el hanout
1-2 tbs olive oil
1-2 tbs butter
good pinch saffron
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 - 1 cup prunes
2-3 tbs honey
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup red wine
salt, to taste

Slowly saut� onions on medium-low heat with olive oil until they begin to caramelize. Stir in Ras el Hanout spice blend. Turn up heat to medium-high and add butter and saffron. Brown meat well on all sides and add tomatoes and other vegetables. Add broth, prunes and honey. Add red wine and salt and let simmer for 1-2 hours, depending on using the tajine and toughness of the meat. Meat should melt in your mouth when done.

Serve with flat breads, rice, couscous or bulgur.

Enjoy!

4. French Profiteroles

Ingredients

1 cup milk
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until scalded. When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 1/2 inches wide and 1-inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should have about 18 puffs. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape. Set aside to cool.

For the chocolate sauce, place the cream and chocolate chips in a bowl set over simmering water and stir just until the chocolate melts.  Set aside.

Cut each profiterole in half, fill with whipped cream or lemon curd or ice cream.  Close and drizzle with chocolate sauce. 


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